Downton Abbey: Barack Obama commits a below-stairs faux-pas by treading on Cora’s dress

The US President nearly ripped the dress of actress Elizabeth McGovern at a White House event

Whatever would the Dowager Duchess say? US President Barack Obama is said to have nearly ripped the dress of Elizabeth McGovern, the actress who plays Downton Abbey’s Cora, at a White House dinner.


The incident is understood to have happened when McGovern and Hugh Bonneville – who plays her onscreen husband the Earl of Grantham – were invited to an evening honouring David Cameron in March 2012, according to US column Page 6.

It is not known exactly what happened, or whether the dress was ripped, but Obama would have known something of the etiquette about such matters given that his wife Michelle is said to be a huge fan of the ITV drama. 

In December of the same year undisclosed members of the cast of Downton were also given a private tour of the White House organised by Mrs Obama.


The President’s wife is also said to be such a big fan of the show that she tried to persuade ITV bosses to get her access season three ahead of its official US release date.